Reversing the Growing Income and Wealth Gap
Today on this Labor Day we examine a number of stories and issues in the news with a focus on labor issues and how the lives of working Americans can be improved as more and more Americans are left out of the American dream while more and more of the country’s wealth gets concentrated in the hands of a few families. We begin with veteran labor journalist Sam Pizzigati, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies whose latest book is “The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class”. He joins us to discuss his article at inequality.org “As Wealth for the Middle Class Shrinks, It May Be Time for a Radical Intervention” and the urgent need to reverse the growing gap in income and wealth inequality, as well as how when unions are strong, everyone who works does better, union workers and non-union workers alike.
A Living Wage as an American Value
Then we speak with Dr. Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who specializes in labor, information technology, the organization of work global economic integration and trade. We discuss the demise of organized labor that now represents only 7% of the private workforce but at the same time as the influence of unions shrinks, a major force like the “fight for $15” gains ground across America indicating that most Americans feel their fellow citizens should be able to work for a living wage.
Building on the Bernie Sanders Movement
Then finally we look into the new populist forces emerging on the right and left in America and explore how the movement that coalesced around Bernie Sanders could be built into a national political force that could reverse the growing income disparity and build upon local initiatives like regional banks and co-ops that are sprouting up across the country. Gar Alperovitz, an historian, political economist, activist, writer and government official and author of “What Then Must We Do”, joins us to discuss the revival of social democracy in the United States that will emerge as the younger generation who were motivated by Bernie Sanders come of age in a country where the pain is so great that change has to come. And for the sake of our children and the country, it must be the kind of change Sanders represents and not Trump.
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